Ford and Mazda go separate ways
The days of the Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger sharing their underpinnings are coming to an end, signalling the end of the long, drawn-out separation of Mazda and Ford once and for all.
The Japanese company has announced that it will be teaming up with Isuzu for its next ute. The very short statement only confirmed the deal and gave no details of the vehicle itself.
The tie-up is described as a manufacturer ‘‘supply agreement’’ rather than a partnership. It also specifies that the deal is for the entire world, apart from the US.
Ford sold its 35 per cent stake in Mazda in 2010, which led the Japanese brand to seek out partnerships with the likes of Fiat Chrysler, which contributed to the development of the MX-5.
86 DOLLARS: Toyota New Zea- land has announced that it will be putting up a prize fund of $100,000 for its TR 86 Championship onemake series for the 86 sports car, making it the biggest purse in the 2016-17 motorsport season. Confirming the fund at the recent CRC Speedshow, Toyota New Zealand motorsport manager Steve Boyce said the runaway success of the championship is proof that it’s fulfilling its role: to help young drivers hone their racing skills and achieve their motor racing goals. ‘‘The championship has been a tremendous proving ground for Kiwi race drivers and is going from strength to strength. With very strong local and overseas interest in the coming championship we are proud to extend our support with this new prize structure,’’ he said.
X3 POWER: BMW has given its range of medium SUVs a mid-life refresh, while also making a new variant available in the New Zealand market. While the existing X3 and X4 models all get increases in equipment and a mild exterior tweak, the biggest news is the introduction of the 180kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine in the new X3 xDrive28iMSport model. The X3 xDrive28i will sprint from a standstill to 100kmh in 6.5 seconds. It consumes 7.3 litres/ 100km while emitting 169 g/km of CO2. Power is delivered to the road via an eight-speed ‘sport’ automatic transmission. The BMW X3 xDrive28i M Sport is on sale now with a recommended retail price of $97,500.
VECTOR TALK: Mazda has unveiled the first of its SkyActiv vehicle dynamics technologies, with the addition of the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system to the Mazda3 in Japan. Mazda says the SkyActiv-vehicle dynamics technologies ‘‘provide integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis and body to enhance the car’s Jinba-ittai feel – a sense of oneness between car and driver.’’ The GVC varies engine torque in response to steering input, in order to enhance the vertical load on each wheel for smooth and efficient vehicle motion. This brings the movement of the car more in line with the driver’s intentions, reducing the need for steering corrections. Mazda says the systems’s changes in acceleration forces are smoother, which reduces occupant sway and makes for a more comfortable ride as well as improving handling and stability on wet, snowy and unpaved roads.
SVO GROWS: Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to expand its Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division, as part of a major investment in new headquarters for both SVO and JLR Classic. SVO was launched in 2014 and stands as the development centre for JLR’s ‘halo’ specialist models. SVO products include the F-Type Project 7, F-Type SVR, Range Rover Sport SVR and the flagship Range Rover SVAutobiography. Sales of SVO vehicles already total 3600 per year.
The Mazda BT-50 ute.